When I think about my future a lot of things come to mind. I still don’t know what I want to do or who I want to be, but I definitely want to get away from the US, and I can. So far, my parents have made sure that everything has been there for the taking.
My parents both grew up in Portland, Oregon under very difficult circumstances. My mom was the youngest of three kids being raised by divorced parents, was on welfare for a time and learned how to take care of herself. My dad was the oldest of three kids, and after losing his father in his early teens had to help provide for his two younger siblings. Since we were young, my parents have taught my brother and I the same values they learned growing up like working hard and honesty. But the one I appreciated the most was the importance of family.
Growing up in Portland, I spent a lot of time with my family. Most of them lived within a few miles of each other and because of that we became very close. All of us were living in less than ideal conditions, eating cheap meals and never having enough money for fancy toys or clothes; but we still were happy with being able to go to my grandma’s at least twice a week to just enjoy being with family. My cousins who were all close to my age were almost like siblings to me and my aunts and uncles knew me almost as well as my parents.
When I was seven, my parents decided to move to California where my mom got a better job and my dad went back to school. By the time my dad graduated, my life had changed completely. With my mom making more money everything got easier. Despite the financial change, my relationships with my parents and brother hadn’t changed. But now when we visit my family in Portland, things are different.
We’re still close, but hanging out with each other is different, we no longer have the connection of living in similar households while seeing each other every week, and it’s noticeable. It still feels like we’re one big family, but I’m looking from the outside in. It’s difficult knowing someone could look at my family and the families within and say “one of these is not like the others”, especially when we all used to be the same.
This can be especially difficult to think about when I think about the future, because I know I can easily get what I want in my future. When it comes to college my parents have always told my brother and I not to worry about how much it costs, that they’ll take care of it. It’s always been easy knowing I didn’t have to worry about money and that my parents don’t worry too much either. I know that my aunts and uncles want the same thing for their kids but money is more of a worry. I know my cousins worry about money too even though they know their parents don’t want them too. The only consolation I can find is that I know that if they need anything they at least have family to turn to for help, I just hope that they’re not too proud to ask for it.
To me family will always be important and I hope that I always stay close to my family, but more importantly what I really want is to get back that connection where my family doesn’t feel like cousins and aunts and uncles but rather just one big family under the same roof.